FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair announces reward in San Francisco church arson
The FBI is assisting the San Francisco Police Department in the ongoing investigation into the arson of the of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church in San Francisco. The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible. If you have any information, please contact the San Francisco Police Department or contact FBI San Francisco at 415-553-7400 or https://tips.fbi.gov.
FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair: My name is Craig Fair, and I am the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's San Francisco Division. The FBI is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for defending the civil rights of all people in the United States. We are committed to protecting the First Amendment rights of everyone in our communities, including the free exercise of religious beliefs. I am standing here, in front of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church in San Francisco, to talk to you about the arson that was set here which threatened the civil rights of our local community.
On September 17, 2020, at approximately 4:15am, an unidentified arsonist set fire to the church's administration building, which housed offices, a library, and a Sunday school. The building sustained significant fire, smoke, and water damage. Thankfully, no one was injured. However, this act of violence was not just an attack on a building, but on a congregation. This was an attack on a community. The FBI is assisting the San Francisco Police Department in the ongoing investigation into this arson. We have been collecting evidence and following leads, but we need the public's help to solve this crime. The FBI and SFPD are seeking the public's assistance in identifying the arsonist responsible for this attack. Today, I am announcing that the FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest, and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for this arson. We are counting on assistance from members of the community to keep our city safe. Every lead will be thoroughly investigated. Regardless of how insignificant you think your information might be, we strongly encourage you to come forward and we welcome your information and assistance.
The FBI takes all acts or threats of violence seriously and is committed to investigating crimes that are potentially hate-motivated. We also have jurisdiction to investigate fires set at houses of worship under the Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996. Our civil rights cases are among the most important work we do.
We are aware of other criminal acts this year that have targeted San Francisco's Armenian community. At this time, we do not know if these incidents are related to the arson at St. Gregory. On July 24, hateful graffiti was discovered at San Francisco's KZV Armenian School. On September 19, gun shots were fired at the school. We urge the public to come forward if you have any information on any of these incidents. If you have any information, please contact the San Francisco Police Department or contact FBI San Francisco at 415- 553-7400 or tips.fbi.gov. Tips can remain anonymous. Thank you for your assistance.
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